It was the Thornton Community Centre AGM on Wednesday 25th August 2021. If you didn’t manage to get along to the meeting, here’s the report that the Management Committee presented.
A group of volunteers took over responsibility for running activities at the Centre in 2018. In 2019 they set up as a registered charity and have since signed a lease from the city council, so they are responsible for all the costs, financing, and maintenance of the Centre. We are now in the process of negotiating a Community Asset Transfer of the building with the council. There are now 7 trustees of the Charity and they hold monthly management meetings which are also attended by Councillor Sue Duffy. There are approximately 40 volunteers who support the work of the Centre. None of the trustees or volunteers are paid for their work. One of our tasks this year will be to make sure the original constitution of the Centre and the new charity are aligned.
The original small group of volunteers were aware that the centre was declining in use and few activities and events were being held. It has been their determination to reinvigorate the centre and make it a hub for community activities. The Covid crisis has handicapped their efforts with the centre having been closed for long periods since March 2020. Despite this significant progress has been made.
Much of the work has been cantered on building up a programme of classes and events so that the centre can be used for a variety of activities during the day and in the evenings, 7 days a week. We now have about 500 users a week. These activities and classes cover educational, arts and crafts, fitness and health and mental health and wellbeing. The centre can also be booked for bigger social events – parties and quiz nights. A monthly Sunday cinema club has been in operation. The Centre has also been heavily involved in organizing summer camps for youngsters and has run the HAF (holiday activities and food programme) every school holiday which has helped provide support to many families and this alone has supported over 250 people. The community library has also now come under the remit of the centre and this has been very successful in raising the number of users and running a Rhyme Time which has won city wide awards.
We have had to spend a great deal of time and money on improving the building and its contents which was in rather a dilapidated state when taken over. This has involved painting and decorating, rewiring, improvement of toilet and kitchen facilities, remodelling the space, wi-fi throughout the centre, new chairs and tables, a new key system and an alarm system that covers the whole building. We have just been successful in a bid for £8000 to help us towards a sustainable and carbon free future. We have set aside a sum of £28000 for future proofing.
The work of the organization is not just centred on a building. We have several partnerships with other organisations in the village. We work with Sapgate Garden Association, St James Church, South Square and Thornton and Keelham primary schools in a number of activities and in finance bids. We have been heavily involved in the Bradford cleaner streets programme. We plan to have an ever-bigger outreach programme in the future. We have a permanent contract with Bradford’s Reparations programme (formerly known as Payback) and they have done a great deal of work around the centre and the village.
We are responsible for the entire financing and maintenance of the Centre. Some of that finance obviously comes from the charges for the use of the building – but we have deliberately kept those low – certainly in comparison with other community centres and organisations. We could not have survived if we had not been heavily involved and successful in submitting bids to a wide range of organisations, too numerous to mention each here. We have also been successful in having various grants from Bradford Council regarding the Covid crisis.
We consider that, despite Covid, these have been successful years and we have begun the process of reinvigorating the centre and developing its importance within the local community, and we have clear ideas about where we want to go in the future. However, we do realise that we need to so with the support of the local community. We want to have greater engagement and conversation with Thornton residents so that we provide facilities and activities that they want. Covid has stopped us having those conversations. We have a Facebook Page and a website, but we look forward to the time when we can have meetings to discuss OUR future.
This is the financial report for 2019 – 2021